Slow start dooms Maccabi yet again as Euroleague playoff dreams takes a hit

Mar 2, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi talked about getting off to a good start ahead of the game but not only was that not the case they also couldn’t figure out how to hold onto a slim 1-point lead heading into the fourth quarter as they self destructed in the final frame to drop a 86-67 decision at Monaco.

Less than 3 minutes into the game and the hosts were already up 9-0 and by the end of the first quarter the yellow-and-blue were in a 30-17 hole. Oded Katash’s team dug out of that deficit step by step with a 10-0 run of their own to start off the second period while they went up 59-58 after thirty minutes. But a 15-0 run by Sasa Obradovic’s team to get the fourth quarter going finished Maccabi off in fashion, only scoring their first points of the final frame with 4:23 remaining as their record fell back down to .500 at 13-13.

Copyright : Direction de la Communication – Manuel Vitali

While Maccabi played the meat of the sandwich they also needed to be the bread in a game that Katash who was ejected would like to quickly forget.

“It’s very disappointing because after the first quarter we were able to come back and we were there. Some players were a bit tired and I used a larger rotation. We went back to our better lineup but Monaco is a very aggressive team and they are one of the best home teams. We knew that it would not be easy.”

Easy it certainly wasn’t as Maccabi’s offense was taken way out of its comfort zone and Lorenzo Brown was stymied with only 7 points, 3 assists and 4 turnovers in arguably his worst performance of the season. In fact, Maccabi turned over the ball 15 times and only dished out 10 assists which Katash said tells the story of the game that was.

“The players really wanted to win and they battled but offensively this wasn’t one of our better games. Their athleticism and aggressiveness took us out of our game somewhat. We have battled all season when we have been down and we have showed character in many games this season. It’s not easy to win here and to do so we needed to have an exceptional game,” Katash explained.

Copyright : Direction de la Communication – Manuel Vitali

The question that needs to be asked is what did Maccabi do all week long since their Euroleague game last week.

Were they unprepared for this game? Did they not know what to expect from a Sasa Obradovic team? After preaching about needing to get off to a good start where were they? And where were the Monaco weaknesses that Maccabi spoke of during the days leading up to the game?

So many times this season, the yellow-and-blue couldn’t figure out how to start off a game well and this was yet another example of exactly that. Going down so easily as if they were sinking at 100 MPH in quicksand and then having to expend oodles of energy to dig their way out of the deep, deep hole is never, never the right prescription to win a game and on the road no less.

Copyright : Direction de la Communication – Manuel Vitali

Yes, Maccabi came back during the 2nd and 3rd quarters to make a game of it, but boy did Elie Okobo, Jordan Loyd, Donta Hall and company hit them with a massive KO to get the fourth quarter underway and wrap the contest up with a tidy bow before Maccabi knew what had happened.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win and they hit some big shots,” a distraught Bonzie Colson explained. “We didn’t get some defensive rebounds which hurt us. We got to continue to grow and get better and we still showed fight which shows our character. We just couldn’t get some stops and execute down the stretch and that hurt us. Defensive rebounds, sense of urgency and we couldn’t get stops. They played well, attacked the glass and executed, it was a tough one for us.”

A tough one indeed especially with a double week coming up with Fenerbahce at home and Anadolu EFES on the road which means they have to at least go 1-1 in these two games to remain in the postseason race. 2-0 would be nice, but 0-2 would be disastrous and pretty much put a premature end to the season.

Fortunately, Maccabi and Katash had fans with them which is something they will always have with them no matter what and it doesn’t matter when or where. This has been the case all season as they have tried to will their team on to victory.

Copyright : Direction de la Communication – Manuel Vitali

“Our fans always root for us and they were right by our bench in this game they gave provided a lot of energy and it’s too bad we couldn’t pay them back.”

The bottom line is that Maccabi came out flat like a pancake and that just can’t happen again as time is running out on this campaign. The yellow-and-blue needs to figure out quickly how to get off to a quick start and set the tone early before their opponents know what hit them or else the playoff dream will be just that; another dream.

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